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Jussie Smollett calls himself ‘the gay Tupac’ in first public appearance since attack

The actor urged the crowd to ‘be blacker, be gayer’

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Jussie Smollett (Screenshot via Twitter.)

“Empire” star Jussie Smollett made his first public appearance on Saturday night following a reported homophobic and racist assault in Chicago on Jan. 29.

Smollett performed at the Troubadour in West Hollywood, Calif., a concert that had been scheduled prior to his attack. His siblings prefaced his performance with a message of support for their brother.

“If I’m honest, as his big brother, I wanted Jussie to sit this one out,” his brother Joel Smollett Jr. told the crowd. “I sincerely wanted him to stay out of the public until he heals. Then, after much debating, some arguing and many tears, my family and I realized that tonight is an important part of Jussie’s healing.”

Smollett appeared on stage saying that, “I had to be here tonight. I couldn’t let those motherfuckers win.”

On Jan. 29, it was reported that Smollett was walking from a sandwich shop at 2 a.m. in Chicago when two men in ski masks approached him. They yelled homophobic and racist slurs at him, beat him, put his neck in a noose and poured a bleach-like chemical substance on him. Police are currently investigating the attack as a “possible hate crime.”

During the performance, Smollett took the time to clarify details of his alleged assault.

“Just because there’s been a lot of stuff said about me that’s absolutely not true. There’s just a couple of points I want to make really quick,” Smollett told the crowd.”I was bruised but my ribs were not cracked. They were not broken. I went to the doctor immediately. I was not hospitalized. Both my doctors in LA and in Chicago cleared me to perform, but said to take care obviously.”

“And above all, I fought the fuck back,” Smollett concluded. After receiving a huge cheer from the crowd, Smolett joked “I’m the gay Tupac.”

Smollett canceled his meet-and-greet at the show for security reasons. Attendees with meet-and-greet tickets were offered refunds or the money could be donated to the Black AIDS Institute.

He closed out the show by imploring the crowd to “Be as black, be as brown, be as gay as the fuck you want to be. Now is the time. Be blacker, be gayer, do it right the fuck now.”

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PHOTOS: Capital Pride Festival and Concert

Keke Palmer, Billy Porter among entertainers

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Billy Porter performs at the 2024 Capital Pride Festival on Sunday. (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

The 2024 Capital Pride Festival and Concert was held along Pennsylvania Avenue in Northwest D.C. on Sunday, June 9. Performers included Sapphira Cristál, Keke Palmer, Ava Max, Billy Porter and Exposé.

(Washington Blade photos by Michael Key)

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Out & About

Get ready for Baltimore Pride

Events scheduled throughout weekend

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Baltimore Pride Parade (Washington Blade file photo by Michael Key)

Baltimore Pride begins this weekend on Friday, June 14 in the heart of the city.

There will be a variety of events, the main ones being Mt. Vernon Pride on June 14 at 2 p.m. on the 200 Block of W. Read St., the Parade and Block Party on Saturday, June 15 at 3 p.m. on N. Charles St., and Pride in the Park on Sunday, June 15 at 3 p.m. at Druid Hill Park.

For more event details, visit Baltimore Pride’s website

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Out & About

New film festival to spotlight LGBTQ docs

DC/DOX held in theaters throughout city

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DC/DOX, a new film festival in Washington D.C., began on Thursday, June 13 at E-Street Cinema, the U.S. Navy Memorial Burke Theatre and Eaton Cinema.

The festival is dedicated to promoting documentary as a leading art form and a series of documentaries on LGBTQ+ stories will premiere, including “Love That Dares Not,” “Sabbath Queen,” and “Familia.” 

For more information, visit DC/DOX’s website.

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